Stem cells are different from your body’s ordinary cells because they can repair themselves, and they can even produce other types of cells. This means they could be used to help treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and other conditions, using treatments known as ‘stem cell therapy’.
Recent research looks promising for the treatment of people who have the ‘recurring-remitting’ form of MS. This is one of the main forms of MS, where a ‘relapse’ means the sudden development of a new symptom, or the sudden re-appearance of an old symptom. Other symptoms like fatigue are common, long-term, problems in recurring-remitting MS.
The clinical trial of the pioneering new treatment meant that the existing faulty cells were removed and replaced. This was done first by using chemotherapy to treat the immune system. It is the immune system itself which looks like the culprit for attacking the brain and nervous system, causing the symptoms of MS.
Then the new treatment used stem cells taken from the patients’ own blood to rebuild new, healthy cells.
Patients effectively had the progress of the disease brought to a halt.